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Driver nearly runs down Holland Happening vendors with Toyota

An Oak Harbor man crashed his car through barriers during the city’s Holland Happening event earlier this month, forcing pedestrians to flee as he drove past vendor tents on the closed-off road, according to court documents.

A couple of other drivers tried to “corral” the driver in the Oak Harbor Police Department’s parking lot, but he managed to escape.

The suspect was later arrested in Rolling Hills, said police reports.

On May 1, prosecutors charged the suspect, Eric Raster, 31, in Island County Superior Court with attempting to elude a pursuing police vehicle, DUI and hit and run.

If convicted on all of the charges, Raster could face more than two years in prison.

His criminal history increases the standard sentencing range, court documents indicate.

The series of incidents began on April 27 when the Washington State Patrol received a report that an erratically driven vehicle nearly hit a vehicle head-on on State Highway 20 at DeGraff Road.

The car then went through a security gate at Whidbey Island Naval Air Station, but the driver‚ later identified as Raster‚ left his driver’s license behind before fleeing.

Raster then drove downtown where the Holland Happening event was going on. He reportedly drove through barricades, cones and sandbags at the intersection of Pioneer Way and City Beach Street, according to a report by Oak Harbor Police Officer Chris Peabody.

“There were car parts on the roadway and tire tracks on both sides of the roadway,” Peabody wrote.

About a hundred pedestrians on Pioneer Way were forced to run and jump out of the way as Raster drove his white Toyota Camry down the road, court documents indicate.

Witnesses said Raster turned up Ely Street to Barrington Drive and pulled into the Oak Harbor Police Department’s parking lot.

A couple of men tried to block Raster in the parking lot with their vehicles, but he drove across a lawn and eluded capture.

Raster drove the car, which by then had a flat front tire and was dragging the front bumper, south on Highway 20.

State Trooper Larry Provoncha saw the vehicle turning onto Sydney Street. He reported he tried to pulled it over, but Raster accelerated, weaving and swerving on the road.

The badly damaged car couldn’t travel faster than 30 mph and Raster finally pulled into a driveway and stopped, Provoncha wrote in his report.

After he was arrested, Raster allegedly told Provoncha that he had snorted a line of methamphetamine earlier in order to stay awake while he drove to Las Vegas, Nev., according to police reports.

 

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